With the BBC’s Charter Renewal on the horizon, Director-General Tony Hall made a passionate speech last week outlining his future vision for the Corporation.
Mounting a stout defence of its relevance in the internet-age he said: “In a world where trust is at a premium… we will need the BBC more than ever as a trusted guide.” Using its news and current affairs coverage as an example, Hall added: “It’s easy to find something on the internet that looks like a fact, that squawks like a fact, but that isn’t a fact.”
The growth of news sites has been one of many consequences of the digital revolution.
Just six weeks ago, three companies launched virtual-reality documentaries in an attempt to lure audiences that might have become disenfranchised with traditional news services.
Each film presented three different news events – the Hong Kong protests, the Syrian refugee crisis and the Millions March protest in New York – in 360-degrees in an effort to seize on the rise in interest of virtual reality.
As a way of presenting news or current affairs in a more immersive and ‘unedited’ way, the ability to provide a new and more complete perspective on an event – one in which the viewer can explore every aspect of the picture – is being seen as an antidote for an audience jaded by traditional journalism.
While Oculus Rift still remains beyond the budgets of most people (and its consumer product isn’t due to launch until the end of the year), the films have the advantage of being available to view with basic equipment, such as Google Cardboard, which turns existing Android smartphones into simple virtual reality headsets.
For Hall and his vision of a BBC where he wants the audience to become schedulers – “the myBBC revolution” as he described it – adopting new technologies might continue to keep the Corporation, and its news coverage, relevant. The runes are pretty good – one of Hall’s previous jobs was Director of News – and under his tenure he took BBC News online in 1995.
To read more about the future of news and whether virtual reality will play a major role, view the article here.